Berlin Brandenburg Airport, ICAO: EDDB, is an international airport under construction. It is located adjacent to the current Berlin Schönefeld Airport which is in Schönefeld, Germany approximately 18 kilometres south of Berlin, the capital of Germany.
This new airport is intended to replace both Schönefeld and Berlin Tegel Airports, and to become the single commercial airport serving Berlin and the surrounding state of Brandenburg. The expansion includes a new terminal and runway. Once in operation it is expected to handle approximately 27 million passengers annually making it the third busiest airport in Germany. The airport will have two runways; 07L/25R @ 9,840ft and 07R/25L @ 13,123ft. It is my understanding that the opening of the new runway has been delayed till 2016 at the earliest.
The installer allows the product to be installed in: FSX, P3DV1 or P3DV2. There was a separate download file for the FSX or the P3D versions. I installed v1.11 of the product for FSX. The installation process is very simple and only requires you choose your simulator and add your registration information. The installer will do the rest. When it is done your scenery will have been added to the FSX scenery library and you will see a new program group for Aerosoft along with a new sub group for Mega Airport Berlin Brandenburg. It is here you can access the Airport Manager, product handbook, uninstaller and the VFR Germany Compatibility tool.
The product includes a well written and informative 76 page PDF document. Content highlights include explanations of the scenery configuration tools and the available options, simulator display settings and also an in-depth breakdown of gates/stands and aircraft types. In all areas the explanations are clear and they include lots of screenshots and diagrams where appropriate.
For those of you who will be installing the product in P3D you will be pleased to know that they haven’t forgotten you and have provided the same level of in-depth information as provided for FSX users.
The last 50 pages are a full set of airport charts including charts for the new runway 07R/25L, which has yet to be put in service.
After installing the airport you have access to several configuration utilities. There is the Mega Airport BER manager, the Mega Airport BER AES Lite configuration tool and the VFR Germany compatibility exe.
The one you will likely access the most is the Mega Airport BER manager. As you can see in the screenshot it allows you to modify a number of the scenery’s visual features. They are self-explanatory and very easy to use. It also allows you to change the Texture Max Load setting in your fsx.cfg or Prepar3D.cfg file, access the manuals and access the AES Lite config tool. I think that the inclusion of config tools such as these is a great feature, especially when you have a scenery that may bog down lower end systems.
The ground textures are a mix of photo imagery textures and graphic image textures. In all areas other than runways/taxiways and aprons they use photo imagery textures with the option to further enhance these areas with 3D grass. For the other areas such as roads, parking areas, construction zones, that weren’t primarily covered in grass, plenty of details were clearly visible. The quality was such that even at ground level these details were discernible and clear. Variations in ground elevation were taken to a point not often found in airport addons. Sure we sometimes get taxiway bridges and the odd overpass on a nearby roadway but this scenery takes it to a whole new level. As can you can see in the screenshots they have it down to areas as small a single mounds of dirt.
The hard surfaces areas were a mix of both high resolution graphic images and some lower resolution photo image textures. In all those areas where they used the high resolution graphics the imagery was crisp and clear with lots of visible detailing.
For the old runway 07L/25R which is now closed they used photo imagery textures instead. The resulting visuals unfortunately looked blurry when viewed up close and when you compare them to other hard surface textures used at the airport.
Impressive is one word that pretty well sums up my feelings in this category of my review. They used a combination of high resolution graphic images, lots of extra detailing along with colouring and shading techniques that make the structures look very realistic.
North of runway 07L/25R; the apron 3 area has the old Schönefeld airport terminal buildings, apron 2 has airfreight and the fire station. South of runway 25L is apron 4 which is the general aviation apron with its buildings and hangars. At the other end on the south side of runway 07L are the AirBerlin and Lufthansa Technik aprons each with a large single hangar. Those are all of the major buildings located within the “Schönefeld” or currently active part of the airport.
The new part of the airport, the part not yet in service, is where we find the new terminal building, the control tower along with a few other structures. These are all located south of runway 07L/25R.
All of the buildings were convincingly recreated but a few did stand out. Not because they were necessarily better but because I felt that they had more character. My favourite structures happen to be the ones that make up the old Schönefeld airport. There is variety in the building materials; as they used bricks, concrete, glass, metal and wood. The roof lines are varied between flat, sloped and peaked. There were also variations in colours as well. They were able to capture all of these differences in a way that looked realistic. As you go through the screenshots you’ll notice such things as roof top detailing, images that are detailed enough to show off the fine brick and stone work. Other features such as the interesting jet ways with their arched design, glass enclosed walkways and metal stairs. These are just some examples and there are many more.
The new terminal complex is the predominant structure in the new airport and is actually made up of a number of interconnecting buildings. Its shape is like a large “C” with the exterior structures that face the aprons being mostly glass. Moving around the aprons you can’t help but be impressed by the tall glass walls, the exposed glass encased stairways and the connecting jet ways. The interior of this “C” is where you’ll find the main terminal building which is a large square building along with several other smaller buildings and multi-level parking garages. Passengers can get to the terminal via road or rail and both have been modelled. It is easy to see how they used the various modelling techniques to create a top notch recreation of this soon to be opened complex.
The new control tower is another very good example of their excellent work. This 236ft tower has an exposed open metal staircase that starts at the ground and goes all the way up to the base of the controller’s pod.
It was no surprise to see that the airport had been populated with a wide variety of high quality objects and vehicles. As I looked around, scrutinizing, I was checking to see that they had included the various types of objects and vehicles that are typically found in the airport’s day to day operations. Items associated with infrastructure and support were my focus and I was not disappointed. As well, were the items placed logically and have they included a realistic number of them? Another thing I like to check out, have they added anything new or unique? At EDDB, in addition to the usual array of vehicles they’ve added stationary and moving Polizie armoured security vehicles.
I did find one area where I felt that the scenery would have benefited from additional objects. Apron 4 which is the general aviation apron looked deserted. Adding some static aircraft and other items such as maintenance stairs and service vehicles would have been an improvement.
Road and rail traffic are the two main types of animations in this scenery. Vehicle traffic of all types can be seen moving on the airport service and apron roads as well as on the nearby multi-lane roads. Rail traffic has also been included and can be spotted on the track that runs to the new terminal as well as the tracks that are north of the airport.
The BER AES Lite configuration tool gives you the ability to enable or disable this traffic. I chose to enable it in all areas and found that it certainly enhanced the realism. Road traffic is common but having the trains moving along the tracks was a real treat.
The coverage area extends beyond the airport’s perimeter for several kilometers in every direction. This has allowed them to include a portion of the major road and rail transportation links that connect the airport.
The way they modelled the complex transportation systems that interact with this airport was very impressive and it was definitely a high light of the product. The roadway interchanges and railway tunnels make for some pretty realistic views while on final or taking off.
As I mentioned during my introductory paragraphs the opening of the new terminal and runway have been delayed so the only runway that is actually in service and active is runway 07L/25R.
Disabling the new BER runway is an option in the Mega Airport BER manager tool. I chose to disable the new runway when I flew in and out of the airport. Below is a screenshot showing what remains active and what is disabled.
The big difference visually were the large Xs on the runway to show that it is not in service and also the lack of any vehicles parked on the aprons or any animated vehicle traffic moving around in this same area.
The product comes with winter textures however you will need to select them via the Mega Airport BER manager before you start FSX. The resulting winter landscape looked quite convincing. Ground textures and vegetation were definitely winter like and you could almost feel the cold crisp air. The only negative was that roof tops did not show any signs of snow cover.
Flying in and out of the airport at night was a pleasure. All aspects of the night time experience were very good and I felt that overall it had a very realistic look and feel, both in the air and on the ground. It was very impressive to see the airport all lit up and then the road and rail traffic as it moved within the scenery. It added tremendously to the immersion factor of the product.
One of the options is to set ground lighting to half or full. After experiencing both, I preferred the full setting as I thought it was more representative of what it would actually be like. Also, if you choose to disable BER the appropriate ground lighting for runway 07R/25L will be turned off. The terminal and apron lighting remains active.
I was actually very pleased with the overall performance. Thanks to the many options available through the use of their configuration tools you have the ability to tweak the visuals to optimize the product for your particular system and set up.
I was very impressed with this product. No surprise considering that it was developed by Limesim and 29 Palms Scenery Design, two names synonymous with high quality products. There were some minor issues however the positives far outweigh the negatives. This is a very detailed airport with very good performance and a price point that can’t be beat.
Installer: Very good. Easy to use.
Documentation: Very good. Informative with full set of charts.
Modelling: Very good. Lots of detail, everywhere.
Extras: Very good. Lots of animated road and rail traffic.
Download Size: FSX 2.8Gbs
Price: EUR 21.84 without VAT
Developer Homepage: http://www.aerosoft.de
Intel i7 960 OC @ 4.2 Ghz, 6 Gb RAM, Gigabyte GTX780 w3Gb video, Win 7 Ultimate 64, FSX w/acceleration, DX9, UT2, REX Overdrive, GEXn, UTX, AES, GSX, FSUIPC.